Yes, You Can Drink on Keto — Here’s What You Need to Know

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)
(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Okay, first: Vodka, whiskey, tequila, and other clear spirits have zero carbs. Wine has about two grams of carbs per glass, and Champagne has one gram. But before you toast your good luck at being able to drink, there are a few things you need to know.

Drinking will probably slow your weight loss down, even if you choose a no-carb option, because your body will use (metabolize) alcohol before fat. Once it’s burned, you’ll go back into ketosis, so all you lost was a little time. No diet shaming here.

There’s something you really need to know, though. Some people view it as an advantage, while others are gob smacked by it: You will get much more intoxicated when you drink on keto. Plan for it. If you have even one drink, be sure you don’t need to drive. Once you’re on the diet for a while, you’ll know what your tolerance is and can plan accordingly.

Also, we all know alcohol does a number on willpower. If that drink makes you feel carefree and oh-so-good, it can also undermine your interest in sticking with the diet. And that might not feel good the next day. From the perspective of a lover of wine, though, I’d recommend you give yourself a good talking to ahead of time — promise yourself that the drink is treat enough and you don’t need to also undo all your good work — and then you really can enjoy throwing one back with friends.

Keep the drink simple: a cocktail might contain unexpected carbs (bartenders might use carb-containing bottled lime juice instead of fresh, for example). Mix your favorite spirit with seltzer and a slice of lime. And be sure to drink plenty of water: The keto diet is already dehydrating, and alcohol makes it more so.

Bottom line? You really can have an occasional drink on Keto — just make good choices and plan for it.

Keto for Newbies: Curious about the ketogenic diet? This high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb lifestyle puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where you burns fat instead of carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. Read more here about what keto is and see all of Kitchn’s coverage on keto here.